I have not personally set sight on a Zune yet, but what I have seen thus far isn't that bad. The screen is better, but I don't know if that really makes a difference. Obviously many people don't watch movies on their handheld devices. Speaking from experience, I personally ripped a few movies onto my laptop's [iBook G4, October 2005) hard drive, and put them on my iPod (5gen 60gb black), and I could not bring myself to actually sit down and watch them. Sure you can take it on the go with you on a train-maybe that is good enough for a television show- but not to watch full length movies. You could instead watch them on a laptop or television set. But I did find the interface of the iPod to be very simple, yet too simple. If the Zune is customizable with the backgrounds and menu effects, then it sure would be more easily customized. Yet, unfortunately, the case of the Zune is [in my opinion] ugly. Reportedly, you can't even buy music all that easily for it...even though I very rarely use the iTunes music store for anything. So here it goes. The Zune has stepped up a bit, but is far from finished in my opinion. I would gander is is the closest to competing with the iPod, just because iTunes on Windows seems to run slow and if done correctly... could very well compete with compatibility for Windows users in comparison to the Mac OS X/iTunes/iPod combo.
So what does all this mean? The rating shouldn't be anywhere near the iPod at this moment. I would give it a 4 or 5 for being "half-way there". Does this mean Cnet is skewed? Absolutely not. They are probably looking at the potential factor that the device will have, once they get the kinks out of buggy software. Will I be ditching my iPod anytime soon? Again, absolutely not. Not because I am a fanboy, but because I have yet to find a product that works as simple, and consistently than my own setup. This is something that hurts Microsoft in all levels of their products. However, I will be looking into Windows Vista when it comes out, but for some reason I feel the new Mac OS will be further ahead of the game.
I'm listening to CNET's Brian Cooley this morning on KNX news radio and I'm a little puzzled at what's coming out of his mouth.
He was fielding a lot of questions about MP3 players, including the Zune. It was a puzzling commentary where he seemed to be going out of his way to find the one or two things that DON'T suck about the Zune and focusing on them - e.g. a slightly bigger screen and an interface that he prefers (though to call it "better" than the iPod's is highly subjective for those who actually prefer the latter).
Very little mention was made of the Software/Hardware synergy that REALLY makes the Zune a stinker for most people. Sure, there are better hardware options on the market than the iPod but the iPod/Itunes "system" is what makes it a no-brainer to most people.
He's talking up these minor points, making the Zune sound like a decent product and then he turns around and says "But Microsoft never gets anything right the first time - it takes them three tries like with Internet Explorer." So does it suck or not, Brian?
Then there's CNET's rating system. Nearly EVERYTHING gets an 8, plus or minus 0.3 points. You are honestly telling me that the Zune review (which had BETTER include it's software/download interface) is only 0.3 points below the iPod and other better MP3 players on the market?
I understand CNET's efforts to try and be fair with its reviews but by all accounts - including Cooly's own words... sometimes - it is a bad first effort. You leave your audience (at least this audience member) scratching its head sometimes, CNET.
Now defend yourselve!
PS I prefer the in-depth reviews CNET does of each product but I really wish they'd stop with the whole numbers thing. It really is in no way useful.